photo: Jordan Strauss / WireImageAfter weeks of speculation and gossip that Randy Jackson would follow his former "American Idol" co-stars Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler out the studio door, TMZ is now reporting that he is in fact stepping down as an "Idol" judge. (Fox reps declined to comment at this time.) With Randy, the only judge to serve on all past 11 seasons of the series, no longer on the panel, it's the end of an era, dawg.
However, longtime "Idol" viewers who are worried that host Ryan Seacrest (who recently renewed his contract for $15 million) will now be the show's only comfortingly familiar face needn't worry. TMZ also reports that Randy--who manages new judge Mariah Carey, and was instrumental in orchestrating her $18 million "Idol" deal--will stay on the show in a more Iovine-esque "mentoring" role. That is vaguely reassuring, I suppose...but let's hope that doesn't mean that mentor Jimmy Iovine is leaving the show, since he's been "Idol's" closest thing to a truly competent, honest voice of reason since Simon Cowell quit two years ago.
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